Oh, to be a teenager in the ‘80s. Somebody needs to fire up their DeLorean and take me back to the year 1980, at the exact age I am now (23, so I don’t have to worry about being carded when I go to Danceteria). I need to be able to wear leggings with neon colored tops and crimped hair freely and a billion bangle bracelets on my arm. I need a boyfriend in a Member’s Only jacket with Judd Nelson badass behavior to drive me to a midnight showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark in his Pinto. Most of all, I want my MTV – one that actually played music.
Since I’m stuck in the present as a young adult/professional, I make it my mission to know all I can about the ‘80s from watching John Hughes classics, that VH1 I Love the ‘80s series (I used to sit around on Saturdays and watch like 10 hours of it in a row. Totally tubular) and all of the ‘80s songs my iTunes can recommend me. Here’s a list of the 10 essential songs for a solid ‘80s playlist (mix tape, if you’re into using cassettes instead. The ‘80s can keep the cassettes. I like my iPod). I didn’t include Madonna or Prince or Cyndi Lauper because I’m gonna assume the full playlist has them featured multiple times. This is a tribute to some songs that might get overlooked that shouldn’t.
We gotta hold on to what we’ve got. Thanks for the life lesson, Bon Jovi.
1) Chains of Love- Erasure
Do you remember there was a time? When people on the street were walking hand in hand in hand? This song is here to remind us all that together, without giving up; we will break these chains of love. Which I guess is the opposite of what we really want to do, strengthen them right? Right? Whatever. Grab your best friend and dance till you’re a maniac!
2) ‘Party All the Time’ – Eddie Murphy
For all you little ones out there, there was a time when Eddie Murphy had a career that didn’t include talking donkeys. This was a part of the career move Murphy made when he decided to try being a pop star on for size. The decision, with the influence of Rick James in the music video, gave us the immortally hilarious ‘Party All the Time’, which continues to be a major inside joke between me and my friends. One of my girlfriends and I actively act out the song, particularly the bit, “Diamonds on her fingers!” I dunno Eddie, there might still be time for a comeback…
3) ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ – Falco
In the movie Adventureland, Jesse Eisenberg whined and moaned about this song being played 10 times a day at the amusement park he worked at. Shut your mouth and go hang out with K. Stew. I’d be down for this song to be played 10 times a day if I worked there. I’d also be one of the backup dancers with Lisa P.
4) ‘Personal Jesus’ – Depeche Mode
It would be criminal for me not to include Depeche Mode on this playlist, especially this song with its Western-styled music video. I recommend downloading the version from the remastered Violator album. It’s longer and includes more of than synthesizer goodness we know and love.
5) ‘Fascinated’ – Company B
Sounds like Madonna? Kylie Minogue? It’s neither – just a little one hit dance floor wonder from Company B. Infectiously catchy with lyrics that could reel in any guy you’re attempting to mouth the words to in the deafening club. (WHAT? I’M FASCINATED BY YOUR LOVE BOY! WHAT?) If you’ve got your eye on a cute guy under the strobe light, this is the song to get your moonwalk on to.
6) ‘Lips Like Sugar’ – Echo & the Bunnymen
For the tortured soul who loves The Cure and Joy Division and doesn’t like to dance, this is for you. You can try emulate Ally Sheedy from The Breakfast Club all you want, but even you want to be compared to being like a swan who floats to other shores and has lips like sugar. Swoon.
7) ‘Pump Up The Volume’ – MARRS
The first time I heard this song was from watching My Stepmother is an Alien, in which I wanted to grow up to be as rad as Kim Basinger. There aren’t a whole lot of ‘80s jams that can flow flawlessly from the dancefloor to the runway to volumizing hair shampoo commercials, but this one proved it can be done. Put the needle on the record when the song beats go like this.
8) ‘West End Girls’ – Pet Shop Boys
Slinky and cool as Debbie Harry, this song is for driving at the twilight of night with the top down and your collar popped up to. The name of the album this song came from was Please so when I’d request to listen to it as a little girl, “Pet Shop Boys Please!” I’d sound super polite. I was a spunky kid.
9) ‘How Soon is Now?’ -The Smiths
That opening oscillating guitar riff and the sweet sad voice of Morrissey starting off waxing poetic on being “human and I need to be loved” lets you know that you’re in good company. Fewer songs in my life have been so relevant for me to make this bold statement but here it comes: oh hot damn, this is my jam.
10) ‘Dance Hall Days’ – Wang Chung
Is it time for an ‘80s high school reunion yet? You’ll be dancing the worm to this one, remembering the good old years. We were so in phase, in our dance hall days.
Image via weheartit.com